Peter Jackson likes to keep his fans informed, and he likes to have a bit of fun. For April Fool's Day he's delivered a bit of both.
On Monday, the Oscar winner posted a new video in which he answered a few questions from fans about his upcoming "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." And included in the clip was the first look of Evangeline Lilly in action as the elf Tauriel.
Discussing the narrative arc of "Smaug," the filmmaker reveals a few seconds of behind-the-scenes footage of Tauriel as she throws a punch towards the camera (the action is at the 1:15 mark). While Lilly is lovely as expected, she also looks quite suitably elfin with her pointed ears and long, straight hair, and form-fitting tunic and leather breastplate. We also see Tauriel brandishing a long, spear-like weapon, and she handles it as if she's no stranger to battle.
So who is Tauriel and what is her role in the film, especially since she's a character created by Jackson and never appeared in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth tales? Although we don't learn too much about her role from the new video, we have gleaned some key intelligence on her character.
The new images jibe with the Tauriel action figures that appeared last year, which came with the same sort of weapons Lilly is wielding on-set. Additionally, a Lego set released last year features Tauriel as a companion of Orlando Bloom's Legolas who helps dispatch giant spiders in the forest of Mirkwood and save the dwarf heroes.
Monday's behind-the-scenes footage also offers glimpses of Bloom return as Legolas, Lee Pace as elf leader Thranduil, and Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman.
"It is complicated to do a middle film, but the advantage is we have multiple storylines," Jackson says as the footage plays. "The first of the 'Hobbit' movies is a fairly linear film -- you know, Galdalf leads the dwarves across Middle-earth at the beginning of this adventure. The great thing about the second movie, as it was with 'The Two Towers,' actually, is that the story starts spreading into multiple storylines and we can follow different characters as the story intensifies and the stakes go up."
Then comes the fun. The second question Jackson fields is from well-known "Hobbit" fanatic Stephen Colbert, who asks a long, impassioned, and extremely esoteric question about elves from Mirkwood. Jackson responds with a one-word answer, and then asks Colbert about the small mugs given to guests who appear on "The Colbert Report" and the larger ones that are actually used on camera. (Spoiler alert: If you want to know if Colbert's mugs are dishwasher safe, don't watch!)
And then Billy Boyd, who played Pippin in the "Lord of the Rings" films, drops by to pose a question while showing off an impressive collection of snare drums (the actor is also a musician, playing in a band called Beefcake). As Jackson responds, discussing the route the travelers took in "LOTR" and will be taking in "The Hobbit," he pulls out a large envelope of design sketches, only to accidentally knock a script to the floor.
Sharp-eyed viewers will note that the barely visible script is for "Star Wars: Episode VII," with Jackson's name stamped on it. Jackson may be telling us he knows something about the wildly anticipated new film ... or maybe he's playing a prank on us all for April 1. Time will tell on that.
And also, notice the finger Mr. Jackson uses to point out various details on the sketches. It's an old joke and not very sophisticated, but that doesn't mean it's not funny.
Anyone who has seen the movie "Forgotten Silver," in which Peter Jackson created an entire illustrious career for a non-existent New Zealand filmmaker, knows the man behind the "Hobbit" film is no stranger to a prank. It looks like today's message is at least part prank, but he's also thrown in some interesting facts along the way, which will whet out appetites for the arrival of " The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" in December.